Who Is The NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year? An Updated Look at RG3, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson

All year we’ve heard the debate over who will be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Until recently, it’s been one of two guys: RGIII or Andrew Luck. But with Seattle Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson now joining the discussion, you’ve got to take a very in-depth look into each of their seasons to determine who’s really the most deserving.

A 3-man race this close is rare for any high-ranking award. Credit: ESPN

A 3-man race this close is rare for any high-ranking award. Credit: ESPN

First, let’s look at the top-line stats through the first 16 weeks:

  • Andrew luck has 21 passing touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and 5 rushing touchdowns.
  • RG3 has 20 passing touchdowns, 6 on the ground, and only 5 interceptions.
  • Russell Wilson has thrown for an impressive 25 touchdowns through the air, 3 on the ground, all while throwing 10 picks.

From those stats alone, which do indeed matter, I’d say Andrew Luck has put himself at a huge disadvantage by throwing for almost 4x as many interceptions as RG3 and nearly twice as many as Wilson.

Luck also trails in the completion percentage department, with his 54.3% trailing RG3’s 66.4% and Wilson’s 63.4% by a wide margin. To be fair, Luck was given the worst running game out of the three, so he’s had to throw the ball a lot more (599 times to Griffin and Wilson’s 374.5). Still, the margins are pretty steep.

After seeing those numbers, it’d be easy to say that RG3 and Wilson are in a dead heat for the award. But when you look at how they’ve performed week-to-week, you realize that Wilson didn’t start playing well with any consistency until about week 9, as he really only had 2 or 3 noticeably good games before that point.

Now don’t get me wrong…you can’t underestimate how big Wilson has been for his team of late, as Seattle has rattled off wins in 6 of their last 7 games behind their rookie QB’s emergence. But Luck’s Colts have won 8 of their last 10 and RG3’s Redskins are riding a 5-game winning streak … so they’re all pretty even in that regard.

Andrew Luck has been instrumental in leading his team to 9 very close wins. Credit: ESPN

Andrew Luck has been instrumental in leading his team to 9 very close wins. Credit: ESPN

So for me, it comes down to one cliche term: their overall body of work. And here is where I unfortunately have to eliminate Andrew Luck from contention for the award.

Luck’s QBR (out of 100) this year is 64.6, while RG3’s is 71.1 and Russell Wilson’s is 70.0. Also, Luck’s passer rating is down at 75.6 while Griffin’s is 104.1 and Wilson’s is 98.0. I think the passer rating is a good statistic to go off of in this instance because each of them have been able to compile decent numbers running, as opposed to one being well behind the others in that category.

I’m as big of an Andrew Luck fan as there is (outside of Indianapolis), and even with his record-setting 4,183 yards so far through the air (a rookie record), it’s just not enough for me to say he’s one of the top two candidates for the award. Even with all of those yards piled up on his stat sheet, he’s still only averaged 6.98 yards per pass attempt – less than RG3’s 8.27 and Russell Wilson’s 7.67.

Luck could easily end up being the most reliable, consistent, and all-around best QB of the three long term, but for now it’s either Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson’s award.

So, back to the question of the hour – who is this year’s Offensive ROY?

Going back to Griffin and Wilson’s overall body of work, it’s clear to me who has the best overall season by the numbers: Robert Griffin III.

RG3 leads Wilson in just about every statistical category (besides passing TD), including QBR, passer rating, completion %, interceptions, yards in the air, and yards on the ground (both QB’s have been labeled “running threats”).

He’s also on a much worse team overall, as the Redskins have what many believe to be the worst defense in the NFL, while the Seahawks were already a solid team that most saw to be missing only a quarterback.

After his effort in Week 16 against the 49ers, nobody is overlooking Wilson. Credit: ESPN

After his effort in Week 16 against the 49ers, nobody is overlooking Wilson. Credit: ESPN

As previously mentioned, Wilson struggled with consistency for quite some time, whereas RG3 has been extraordinarily reliable dating all the way back to week 1.

If you take their worst 3 games based on passer rating (the anomalies, if you will), RG3’s average is a 76.63 while Wilson’s is all the way down at a 49. In other words, RG3’s “bad” has been much, much better than Wilson’s bad.

So yes, the flashy, fun, humble, and unpredictable Robert Griffin III is indeed my NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

It’s rare that guys as impressive as Andrew Luck or Russell Wilson don’t win the award, but that just speaks volumes to how consistent and impressive RG3 has been all year long. He’s put together a phenomenal body of work, racking up tons of impressive statistics all while taking care of the ball as well as some of the NFL’s best veterans do.

As exhilarating as it’s been watching RG3 all year, just imagine what he’ll be able to do with experience under his belt, a competent defense supporting him, a veteran running game at his disposal, and a healthy receiving corps.

RGIII battled back from injury in Week 16 to lead his team to their 5th straight victory. Credit: USA TODAY

RGIII battled back from injury in Week 16 to lead his team to their 5th straight victory. Credit: USA TODAY

And lucky us, we could very well get to watch each of these 3 QB’s in the playoffs.

About Zach Gropper

Zach Gropper is a sports broadcasting major at Indiana University in the beautiful town of Bloomington, IN. He is from Flossmoor, IL, a small Chicago suburb.
Zach was was the sports director for WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor his junior year of high school and Television Station Manager of Viking Television during his senior year.
He runs a White Sox blog at GrabSomeBench.com and also contributes and reports for AssemblyCall.com. Last summer, Zach interned for ESPN 1000 AM Chicago, working on programming for the Waddle and Silvy Show.
He is currently eager to get out into the professional world of sports media, wherever that may take him.


  1. Russell Wilson had to earn the starting job mind you, and was then handcuffed by the coaching staff for the first 6 games. He was never given any spotlight, media attention, etc and earned everything. RG3 is as deserving of the award as anyone has ever been, but RW earned it more in my opinion for the amazing journey he has had to take. On top of that, he is on the cusp of breaking Peyton Manning’s TD record for a rookie. All of that on a team that runs first. It is an astonishing accomplishmentl Oh, and by the way, the Redskins looked fantastic without RG3 in there, so with or without him they are far from a bad team… Good debate

  2. Seahawkfan99 says:

    Best analysis out there so far but in the body of work, you should include all turnovers. Not just ints but fumbles and failed fourth down conversions where the QB either ran or passed. It’s intangibles such as these that should separate the three QBs. I would also like to see a stat on the ints to include drops by the Receivers that led to ints. Of Wilson’s ints, he’s actually thrown four. The other six, the intended receiver had both hands on the ball and dropped it. One last intangible, Wilson has the highest QB rating in the NFL for the second half of the season. Sure you can look at the entire body of work but keep in mind, during the first half of the season, Seattle coaches had Wilson using less than half the play book. One last thing, of the three, Seattle has by far the worst offensive line. If Matt Flynn were starting, the sack totals would be in the 50s or 60s. Yes I’m a homer, but I am not a fan of the run first QB (RG3, Vick, Newton, etc…) they tend to shine bright but burn out quick. I guess one stat that could be used to separate the three, would be to look at yards after the catch. Garçon and Moss add to RG3’s totals hugely. Whereas, Seahawks receivers catch the ball. They are not the playmakers after making the catch that Garçon and Moss are.

  3. MNvikingsfan87 says:

    RG3 is the most deserving rookie. His stats are better than both RW and Luck. It doesn’t matter the story or how much media you get it has everything to do with the stats. Also Luck and RG3 are the only two that their teams actually need. Seahawks would probably be in the exact same spot with or without RW. Now for MVP everybody knows Peterson deserves it more. He has 400 more yards rushing than the next closest back and his average yards per rush are very close to Average yards per attempt by QB’s. If he doesn’t get it the Award should be changed to Most Valuable Quarter Back instead of Player. Peyton isn’t even having an epic season. Not even top 5 in yards he is 3rd in TD’s and 2nd or 3rd in rating. Everybody expected him to perform well this season. For Peterson nobody expected him to do well or even play as much as he has.

    • Seahawkfan99 says:

      C’mon you don’t know the Seahawks. They had one change in starting personnel besides QB and that was middle LB. they were 7-9 last year. Would not have been in the same position with T Jack at QB and Matt Flynn would have been sacked 50+ times. I would argue that with the skins surprise rookie at RB, and with Garçon and Moss, RG3 has a much better supporting cast. Right now, RW is a better pure QB. Aside from RoY, Shannahan is going to ruin RG3’s career with the option. He’s going to take a shot that he won’t walk away from. Anyway, it would be cool to have a one paragraph description of why each voter votes the way they do. So we could see how the determination was/is made.

  4. Agree the coaches played Wilson very conservatvely, but that goes against Wilson IMHO. When you have one guy the coaches kind of eased into things with and had limited confidence in from the start, and another guy who came in, shoved his nose in the playbook all off season, and then got sent in sink or swim and he produced the entire way, played as strongly in game one as he did in game 14, guy two is on top IMO.

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